Catherine de Zegher
Catherine de Zegher (born Groningen, April 14, 1955) is an international curator, and a modern and contemporary art critic and art historian. She is the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Gent (Belgium) and member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. She was the Artistic Director of all our relations, the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012) and of More Light/Bolshe Seta, the 5th Moscow Biennale, Russia (2013). She curated the Australian Pavilion (Simryn Gill: Here art grows on trees) at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and the Belgian Pavilion (Thierry De Cordier) at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997. In 2017 she received the Oscarla award for her role in the art world. In 2014, de Zegher published Women’s Work Is Never Done, an anthology of her collected essays on the work of modern and contemporary women artists.
Exhibitions and publications
Catherine de Zegher's most recent book is an anthology of collected essays on contemporary women artists written over 13 years: Women's Work Is Never Done. In 2012, de Zegher edited All our relations (18th Biennale of Sydney). De Zegher wrote On Line. Drawing Through the Twentieth Century (1910-2010) as a curator of an exhibition by that name at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2010 she has curated the exhibition Alma Matrix: Bracha Ettinger and Ria Verhaeghe in juxtaposition with Eva Hesse. Studioworks (2010) at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona.
De Zegher was the Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in 2007-09 and the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Drawing Center in New York in 1999-2006 and Editor of its Drawing Papers. She was previously co-founder and Director of the Kanaal Art Foundation (Kortrijk, Belgium, 1988-1998) and in 1992 co-curated the large-scale exhibition America. Bride of the Sun: 500 years Latin-America and the Low Countries at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
In 1996 De Zegher curated Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of Twentieth-Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The exhibition was accompanied by a book (MIT Press). Her exhibitions accompanied by books and catalogues include: Mona Hatoum: Beyond the Violence Vortex into the Beauty Vortex (2011); Bracha L. Ettinger: Art as Compassion (2011), co-edited with Griselda Pollock; Cristina Iglesias: Deep Fountain (2008); Julie Mehretu: Drawings (2007); Freeing the Line (2007); Eva Hesse Drawing (2006); Joelle Tuerlinckx: Drawing Inventory (2006); 3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and Agnes Martin (2005); Richard Tuttle: It’s a Room for 3 People (2005); Giuseppe Penone: The Imprint of Drawing (2004); The Stage of Drawing: Gesture and Act. Selected from the Tate Collection (2003); Anna Maria Maiolino: A Life Line/Vida Afora (2002); Untitled Passages by Henri Michaux (2000); The Prinzhorn Collection: Traces upon the Wunderblock (2000), and Martha Rosler: Positions in the Life World, 1998. She co-edited with Carol Armstrong Women Artists at the Millennium (MIT Press).
Controversy with the Toporovski collection
In Fall 2017 the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent re-installed its permanent collection and included works by contemporary artists Luc Tuymans, Ria Verhaeghe and Patrick Van Caeckenbergh. The new installation also included a few Russian avantgarde works from the Dieleghem Foundation (Toporovski collection). In 2018, however, the Toporovski collection was claimed to be doubtful concerning their authenticity by a group of art dealers and some scholars in The Art Newspaper and De Standaard. The Belgian news claimed that de Zegher insisted the MSK had done art historical research and also worked with two art historians, experts in the field of the Russian avantgarde, stating to be able to proof it with the needed documents. Both of the experts however denied having done an expertise on the works and said to have warned de Zegher not to exhibit the Toporovski collection. However, de Zegher disputed these claims. The Director of the MSK and the City of Ghent closed the exhibition and terminated the contract with the owner so that the works could be returned. The latter stated that an investigation will be conducted to verify the authenticity of the works. Several Flemish museum directors critiqued the handling of de Zegher and the MSK. De Zegher, however, answered that they did all the necessary art historical research. A former exhibition in France featuring work from the Toporovski's was questioned as well, however the court ruled the paintings to be real. Due to the problems surrounding the collection, the museum board has ordered an audit on the event and has suspended de Zegher pending this process. The Flemish Parlement debated in Februari how to limit the negative effects of this controversy for other Belgian musea Currently the matter is in the hands of an investigating judge.. After 7 months of her suspension, 63 artists, among museum directors and intellectuals published a letter in support of Catherine de Zegher. Among those to have signed the letter include artists Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Luis Camnitzer, Cristina Iglesias, Simryn Gill, Mona Hatoum, Giuseppe Penone, Luc Tuymans, and Cecilia Vicuña; art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh; Catherine David, deputy director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Bartomeu Mari, director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul; and Ann Gallagher, director of Tate Modern’s British Art collections. The letter reads:
"We are appalled to see how one of the preeminent women curators of her generation internationally, a wholly professional and widely acclaimed museum director, has been made the plaything of unscrupulous media and of international speculation in the art of the Russian avantgarde, resulting in a severe media process destroying her work and reputation. Through this letter, we affirm our full support for Catherine de Zegher as museum director and as curator. We challenge the local and national authorities concerned on the important issue of having, keeping, protecting and supporting visionary museum directors in their country, remaining independent in their judgement from the pressure media exert and the correlated hype and sensation, and above all from the growing influence of a certain art market linked with finance and power. We ask them to seriously pay attention to the role art and museums play in our cities, regions and in the society at large, the great principles they represent, and the necessity of having inspirational museum directors and curators to lead the way." 
Selected curatorial projects
2017. From Bosch to Tuymans, A Vivid Narrative, reinstallation MSK Gent; Geta Bratescu: A Studio of One’s Own, Camden Arts Center, London / MSK Gent; Manufactories of caring space-time (Creative Europe Project), MSK Gent / FRAC Lorraine, Metz / Foundation Antoni Tapies; Parastou Forouhar, Written Room, MSK Gent; EyeWitness: Francisco Goya & Farideh Lashai Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent, Belgium / Prado Museum, Madrid / British Museum, London
2016. Selma & Sofiane Ouissi, Creative Europe Project The Minor Gesture in collaboration with Erin Manning and Nikolaus Gansterer, Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent / FRAC Lorraine, Metz / Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona; Simryn Gill, The hemi(cycle) of leaves and paper, Tekenkabinet; Gerda Steiner & Jorg Lenzlinger, Metafloristik Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent, Belgium; Marthe Donas: The Belgian Avantgardiste Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent, Belgium
2015. Raaklijnen / Tangents / Tangentes (Pieter Vermeersch, Edith Dekyndt, Maria Laet, Monika Grzymala, Gosia Wlodarczak, Tim Knowles, John Wolseley, Aslan Gaisumov, Sarah Sze) Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Tekenkabinet, Gent, Belgium; Micro-art group Gorod Ustinov, Creative Europe Project, Micromuseum Gent Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent / Frac Lorraine, Metz / Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona; Eija-Liisa Ahtila, On foreign subjects, nature of miracles and possibilities of perception, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte; Julia Margaret Cameron (in collaboration with the V&A) Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent, Belgium
2014. Love Letters in War and Peace/Mona Hatoum: Close Quarters (November–February 2015); Katrien Vermeire, Kreislauf (zomer 2014); Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan, Lade (Project: Another Country) (February–May 2014) Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Gent, Belgium
2013. the Australian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.
2013. 5th Moscow Biennale: More Light/Bolshe Seta
2012. 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations.
2010. On Line. Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
2010. Alma Matrix: Shared Traces/Trazos en Comun. Bracha Ettinger and Ria Verhaeghe (juxtaposed with Eva Hesse: Studioworks). Fundacion Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Barcelona.
2006. Eva Hesse Drawing. The Menil Collection, Houston; The Drawing Center, New York; LAMoCA, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (The Association of Art Museum Curators AAMC Award for Excellence).
2006. Joelle Tuerlinckx's Drawing Inventory. The Drawing Center, NY.
2005. Persistent Vestiges: Drawing from the American Vietnam War. The Drawing Center, New York.
2005. 3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and Agnes Martin (Best Show AICA Award 2005), The Drawing Center, New York; Santa Monica Museum, Los Angeles; Kilmainham Museum, Dublin, Ireland.
2005. Richard Tuttle: It's a Room for 3 People, The Drawing Center, New York; The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado.
2003-2004. Giuseppe Penone: The Imprint of Drawing. The Drawing Center, New York; 2004. Milton Keynes Gallery, United Kingdom.
2003. The Stage of Drawing: Gesture and Act. Selected from the Tate Collection The Drawing Center, New York, 2003. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom ; Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom.
2002. Anna Maria Maiolino: A Life Line/Vida Afora. The Drawing Center, New York.
2001. Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger: Eurydice Series. The Drawing Center, New York.
2001. Between Street and Mirror: The Drawings of James Ensor. The Drawing Center, New York.
2000. Untitled Passages by Henri Michaux, 2000. The Drawing Center, New York.
2000. The Prinzhorn Collection: Traces Upon the Wunderblock (Best Show AICA Award, 2000-2001). The Drawing Center, New York.
1998. Martha Rosler: Positions in the Life World. Retrospective exhibition co-curated by Elizabeth Macgregor and Sabine Breitwieser and organized by Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, and the Generali Foundation, Vienna, and touring to Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Institut d'Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes; The Generali Foundation, Vienna; Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam; The New Museum, New York; International Center of Photography, New York.
1997. Thierry de Cordier. Belgian Pavilion, XLVII Biennial of Venice.
1996-1997. Inside the Visible. An Elliptical Traverse of 20th Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine. Institute of Contemporary Art ICA Boston; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
1994. Bracha L. Ettinger: Oeuvres autistes. Kanaal Art Foundation. Nancy Spero, Kanaal Art Foundation.
1993. Gabriel Orozco: In Broel-and Brewerytower Broel-towers and Brewery-tower, Kanaal Art Foundation
1990-1992. America, Bride of the Sun. 500 Years/Latin America and the Low Countries Major historical exhibition, including the work of 23 contemporary South-American artists Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp 2/1/92-5/31/92
1992. Antoni Muntadas: C.E.E. Project Kanaal Production 1991-1992 in each European Community member state, starting with: The Netherlands: Witte de With, Rotterdam 2/22/92-12/31/92; Spain: Federacion Espagnola de Municipios y Provincios, ‘Edge’ 1992; Madrid 4/30-92-5/31/92; Portugal: Fundaçao Serralves, Porto 4/30/92-12/31/92; Great Britain: Broadgate, ‘Edge’ 1992, London 5/13/92-6/15/92; Germany: Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt 12/1/92-12/21/92; Greece: Institut Français de Thessalonique, Thessalonique 10/24/97; David Lamelas: When the Sky Low and Heavy Royal Museum for Fine Arts, Antwerp; Ilya Kabakov & Ulo Sooster: Illustration as a Way to Survive Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Kortrijk; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K.; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow
1991. Waltercio Caldas: Drawings and Sculptures and James Casebere & Tony Oursler: Station Project Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk
1989. Cildo Meireles & Tunga: Through /Lezarts; Tadashi Kawamata: Beguinage Project Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk; Lili Dujourie: Ibant oscuri sola sub nocte per umbra Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn; Le Magasin, Grenoble, France; Museum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris
- Catherine de Zegher biography
- Kris Kulakova, "Moscow Shines Once More: The Fifth Moscow Biennale Of Contemporary Art", The New Contemporary <
- Rachel Kent, "Catherine de Zegher and the 18th Biennale of Sydney", Art & Australia, Winter 2012
- Venice Biennale. Archived 2013-09-06 at the Wayback Machine.
- Women artists
- Catherine de Zegher, "Women’s Work. Is Never Done". Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- "14 May – 1 August 2010, Alma Matrix. Bracha L. Ettinger and Ria Verhaeghe".
- Inside the Visible. Edited by Catherine de Zegher. Boston: MIT Press, 1996.
- Catherine de Zegher and Griselda Pollock (eds), Art as Compassion. Bracha L. Ettinger. Ghent: MER. Paper Kunsthalle & Brussels: ASA Publishers, 2011. ISBN 978-94-6117-008-8
- de Zegher, Catherine M., ed. Eva Hesse Drawing. NY: The Drawing Center & New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
- de Zegher, Catherine M., and Teicher, Hendel, eds. 3 X Abstraction. NY: The Drawing Center & New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005
- The Prinzhorn Collection: Traces Upon the Wunderblock. Drawing Papers, n. 7. NY: The Drawing Center, 2000.
- Women Artists at the Millennium. Cambridge Massachusetts: October Books, MIT Press, 2006. 35–83. ISBN 978-0-262-01226-3.